2009: Highest Number of Minorities Serving in the IDF

IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson

More than 500 members of minorities were drafted into the IDF (Zahal) last year, according to figures recorded and compared with previous years. IDF (Zahal) Manpower Directorate: There has been a rise in Druze recruits in recent years

Date: 08/03/2010, 6:46 PM     Author: Neta Sarosy and Omri Kiron

ord number of members of ethnic minorities were recorded as serving as volunteers in the IDF (Zahal). More than 500 Bedouins, Muslims and Christians, joined the IDF (Zahal) during 2009. “Our intention is to cross the 500 recruit mark by next year and continue the process of recruiting hundreds of other members of minorities,” said the Manpower Directorate Chief of Staff, Brig. Gen. Orna Barbivai, at a conference on the Directorate’s work program for 2010. “During this year we are also extending our recruitment services among minority populations.”

According to official numbers recorded by the Manpower Directorate, more than 83 percent of the Druze population enlist in the IDF (Zahal) voluntarily. This figure indicates an increase of eight percent over three years. Among other volunteers, Bedouins, Muslims and Christians increased by more than 140 percent in the last three years. The IDF (Zahal) Manpower Directorate also notes that minority service is another expression of the importance and contribution of the IDF (Zahal) service integration into Israeli society.

Meanwhile, MK Amar Hamed recently proposed a bill that will allow for the assistance of members in the Druze community who served in the IDF (Zahal). Hamed recommended fixing the law of affirmative action to find more suitable jobs for minorities. The present law allows for job positions to be reserved for a number of places for minorities. According to Hamed, compared to other minorities, the Druze candidates usually receive the least desired positions. Due to the fact that this community serves actively in the IDF (Zahal), other minorities are able to acquire academic education giving them an advantage in employment conditions. If the bill passes, it would grant preference to members of minorities who served in the IDF (Zahal).